Peter Rosenstein is executive director of the Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, but he's much better known as the District's unofficial spokesman for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Are you originally from D.C.?
I'm originally from New York City. I've lived in D.C. since 1978 when I came down to work in the [Jimmy] Carter administration. I was the executive director of the White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals/Implementation Unit.
That's a mouthful. How'd you get that?
I was a teacher in New York and then worked for a congresswoman. She had lost her election, but was invited down to the White House for a meeting. She invited me along and while I was there I passed my resume out. So I got it the old fashioned way. ... When the job was over after Carter lost, I entered the not-for-profit sector.
How did you become an activist for the LGBT community?
I didn't come out until 1981. I was 34 years old. I became a member of the [D.C. Gertrude] Stein Club and started getting involved with local political leaders. I headed various commissions for Marion Barry when he was mayor and then was the issues chairman for Charlene Jarvis when she ran for mayor against Sharon Pratt Kelly in 1990. I continued to do that for mayoral candidates thereafter, working for Carol Schwartz in 1994, then Tony Williams in '98 and 2002 and then Adrian Fenty in 2006. ... Once I came out, it was just the natural thing for me to get involved. I've been lucky to be on the winning side of the last three mayoral elections.
What is the most important issue facing D.C.'s LGBT community?
Becoming fully involved in the economic fabric of the city and also fighting against hate crimes, and working to have the community fully recognize marriage equality.